Building microservices? Give Dapr a try

Microservices are at the heart of many cloud-native architectures, using tools such as Kubernetes to manage service scaling on demand. Microsoft has been at the forefront of much of this movement, with a deep commitment to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and by using Kubernetes to support its hyperscale Azure and its on-premises hybrid Azure Stack.

Part of that commitment comes from its tools, with a range of different platforms and services to support cloud-native microservice development. One of those tools is Dapr, the Distributed Application Runtime, an event-driven runtime that supports creating and managing service elements using best practices. It’s designed to be platform agnostic, so you can use your choice of target environments (local, Kubernetes, or any other environment with Dapr support) and your choice of languages and frameworks.

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Dapr gets close to 1.0

It’s been a while since Dapr’s Fall 2019 announcement, but development has continued during the past year, and with a second release candidate currently available, a Dapr 1.0 release isn’t far away. That development process includes development tools and a Dapr CLI to set up development environments and help with application scaffolding, ready for you to add your code.

There’s going to be at least one more release candidate, but if you haven’t looked at Dapr, it’s a good time to start seeing if it can help you build services faster. A good place to start is with the Dapr CLI, which works with a local Docker installation. It’s available for Linux, macOS, and Windows, with installation instructions for the main versions. Windows developers can choose to install in WSL or Windows, using the Linux instructions for WSL. You can install either the current release candidate CLI or the last stable development release, 0.11.

Once you’ve installed the Dapr CLI and Docker Desktop, with Docker Desktop using Linux containers, you’re ready to get started in self-host mode. I’d recommend using a recent release of Docker Desktop, as it works with WSL 2 directly, making it easier to run and manage Dapr containers on your development PCs. Running Dapr downloads and installs the core Dapr containers on your development system, ready for use. Self-hosting Dapr allows you to try it out without requiring a Kubernetes install, while still using all its development tools.

One point to note: I did have some issues with port reservations on my main development PC, which stopped one of the key Dapr containers from starting. This was fixed by stopping the Windows NAT service, which was blocking access to the ports Dapr needed to use.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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